A Craftsy Comparison

Note: After you read this post, do make sure you take a moment to read Joi’s comment below! I want you to know more about her perspective on all this. Thanks!

I love me some Craftsy. This needs to be firmly established before we dive into the murky ooze of my discontent.

If you’ve been following along, you know that I was super excited about one of their recent course offerings, “Fast Track Fitting“. I bought it almost as soon as it was announced. I had already enrolled in and watched most of Lynda Maynard’s “Sew the Perfect Fit,” and wasn’t entirely sold due to reasons I’ll mention later. I was drawn in to this new class by the promise of no more muslins and a usable bodice block by the end of the class.

It seemed like the perfect course for me!

If you’re like me, you may struggle with trying to figure out how to properly adjust your patterns to fit all your quirky bits. Sometimes it seems as though I am the antithesis of everything that pattern designers draft for–certainly I am not alone! Perhaps you have been wondering if one of these classes would help you attain the elusive “perfect fit.” I have now completed both courses and experimented with both techniques and I’d like to share my (oh-so-numerous) opinions so that I might be able to help someone trying to decide between the two classes.

First, both instructors seems extremely knowledgable about pattern adjustments in general. Lynda starts off her course with a session about what perfect fit is, which was eye-opening to say the least. There were some fit goals (shoulder seam postion, side seam perpendicularity) that I had never really thought about before. Both instructors take time to demonstrate how to take your measurements, though Joi really goes into more depth and gives some extra measurements that you should take that you may not have heard of before.

I feel compelled to mention, due to my own level of distractability, that neither instructor seemed particularly at ease in front of the camera–not that I can blame them. It did seem, though, that Joi was flustered. I noticed that she seemed to work through her slashing and spreading process sometimes without seeming to think about what she was doing. A couple of times, she didn’t even remove the excess that she said she was which, I noticed by reading the comments, confused some watchers. Lynda seemed a bit more relaxed, especially as she really got to work. I get the impression, overall, that both ladies would be really fun to work with and learn from in person. Being filmed is not something that everyone is comfortable with.

Both classes teach similar methods for pattern adjustments that rely heavily on slashing and spreading. The major difference between the methods is that Lynda sews up a very particular muslin and then slashes and spreads it while it’s on the model while Joi makes several pattern adjustments on paper before even cutting the first muslin.

I have one major issue with each class. With Lynda’s method, I find it very difficult to make the pattern adjustments to myself. I don’t belong to a sewing circle, I don’t have local friends who sew, my mom isn’t always available to lend a hand. So, this method doesn’t really work so well for someone like me, the lonely sewist. Joi’s method, on the other hand, is great for someone like me because I’m very comfortable with slashing and spreading and meticulous measurements.

My beef with Joi’s class is not with the method itself, but with the way the method is presented. Now, in Lynda’s class, she uses three different models and shows on each how she slashes the muslin and adds or removes fabric where needed. And then she shows us how to make the needed adjustments on the paper pattern by using each of the muslins. In Joi’s class, however, she simply shows generic examples of how to slash and spread–how to slash and spread above the bust, how to slash and spread below the bust, how to slash and spread at the waist, etc. She gives no measurements. She doesn’t really explain which of your measurements you should be using for which part of the pattern (though, this is really self-explanatory for the most part if you sit and think about it–but considering that she demonstrates over a dozen times the exact same slash and spread method in different parts of the pattern, I kind of feel like she thought maybe we were all a little slow. . . ).

I really wanted her to take her model’s measurements, sit down with the pattern, measure the pattern, compare it to the model’s measurements, and then show where she makes her cuts and why and how much she adds or removes. I read over the comments and found that a few other viewers had made this suggestion: that it would have been much easier to understand if she had walked us through a specific example. Joi replied that they had actually shot a version like that, but that Craftsy had decided that we would all get confused if she had been using someone else’s measurements to adjust the pattern–that we would all assume, I suppose, that we had to make the exact same adjustments.

I have to say, I was sort of offended by that.

Dear Craftsy,

I am not an idiot.

Thanks,

J.

I did eventually make up a muslin using Joi’s method of measuring the pattern and comparing it to my own measurements and the result was dismal. Not anything at all like the nearly-perfect fit of the muslin she made for her model.

The obvious culprit here is incorrect measuring on my part. But that does make me think that perhaps it would have been more helpful to spend more time learning how to accurately take your own measurements. In both of these courses, we watch the instructor take someone else’s measurements–which is not super helpful when you need to know how to take your own. One thing I do really love about the Fast Track Fitting course is the printable measurement chart that comes with it. It clearly shows where on the body you need to take each measurement.

Then again, measurements are just numbers and numbers can only tell you so much. You can’t expect to get a perfect fit the first time around. Unless you’re one of those lucky ladies who can sew things “right out of the envelope.”

Honestly, it seems to me that a combination of the two methods would be most beneficial for home sewers. Take your measurements, modify the pattern accordingly, and once you’ve sewn up a muslin, use Lynda’s method of slashing and spreading while wearing the muslin to get a more perfect fit. But that does bring us back to the problem of not being able to slash and spread on yourself.

So, my friends, have any of you taken either of these classes? What are your thoughts?

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22 thoughts on “A Craftsy Comparison

  1. I have taken the class from Lynda Maynard and am curious about the Fast-track-fitting one, so thank you for your review, I found it useful. For me, Lynda Maynards class was an eye-opener. I’ve used her method for fitting myself on some simple garments and that did work. Fitting myself involves taking the garment on and off continuously (kind of annoying) and trial and error. And getting my boyfriend to take somewhat decent pictures of the back so that I can see what is going on there (I think I should get a tripod…). I’m not sure whether I would be able to fit more complicated garments though. I think I’ll first have to get some more experience with this method by fitting for example the dress that came with the class on someone else. I’m also thinking about making myself a duck tape dress form so that I can do a first round of fitting on the dress form which would hopefully get me close to a good fit so that I then only need to do some fine-tuning on myself to get it completely right.

    • I thought about making a duct tape dressform, but decided against it after reading about others’ experiences. But, I think that if it might help, it’s worth a try! Practicing on someone else sounds like a good idea. You’ll probably get a lot better at recognizing fit issues and figuring out how to fix them if you can work on someone else.

  2. I’m doing the one about basic serging now. It is ok, but still I think a real teacher would be great with such an intimidating machine. The free class about zippers was great, but I’m sad it didn’t include an exposed zipper. The one about sewing machine feet wasn’t good if you’re an experienced sewer. I really like the free mini classes overall. But most of them are super basic. If you have some sewing skills you won’t learn much. Or at least that was my case.

    • Yeah, I think the free classes are aimed at beginners. But, it’s still pretty awesome that they offer them! I agree that it’s better to work with a teacher in person, but since not everyone has that luxury, Craftsy does a decent job of filling in.

  3. Thanks for a really comprehensive review, it’s great to know more about these classes, I have been looking at taking one or the other.

    I think getting someone else to help will always result in a better fit but it’s just not practical most of the time, so I do prefer to make flat pattern adjustments. It’s a shame that Craftsy vetoed the more helpful way of showing adjustments, I think most sewists are smart enough not to assume they need to copy the exact numbers…

  4. I’m so glad to get your perspective. Thanks for writing about it. I’ve thought about both of those classes. But, I’ve hesitated because one of the reasons you mention – no one to help with my fitting/measuring. I have several fitting books that are fantastic and are obviously helpful once you identify what’s needed. But they don’t mean anything if I can’t make the proper adjustments on my muslin first. And of course it always seems that I need the most adjustments to my back which is hopeless and ends up being trial and error.

    I would love to see a class that uses the exact same pattern and shows it on several people and points out the adjustments needed. Only one example of each would need to be demonstrated but seeing real life would be so helpful!

    • Lynda Maynard’s class does a much better job of pointing out fitting issues. Her fitting methods are hard to do on yourself, but I learned a lot about how to recognize fitting problems. I would like to see a class all about fitting shoulders and sleeves. Apparently they’re releasing a sleeve-fitting course with Joi Mahon around Christmas but I’m feeling a bit skeptical about how useful it will be.

      • Hey its joi here. I totally found this by accident but am very talkative so I would like to reply. As far as my sleeve class, due to the popularity of my Fast track fitting class we filmed a companion Fast track fitting in the details which includes more actual fitting, sleeves, sleeve drafting, all my favorite tips that we could not film in the first class.

  5. I’m a bit late to this discussion; I have both classes and must say I find Lynda’s class eye-opening and really, really informative. I’m beginning to understand what is required and how to detect where a fitting problem occurs looking at horizontal and vertical lines on a muslin. I find it particularly helpful that she has three very different models so that we can see what needs to be done for instance fitting someone who’s bigger around the mid-section. I am waiting for my pattern and plan to make my muslin exactly as Lynda stipulates, hoping to get a garment that fits me well around the chest and upper arms.

    • I’m not familiar with Sure-Fit Designs, so I can’t really say. And I think it depends on the learning style of the individual. Some people, myself included, do fine with online tutorials and books, while others really need the immediacy of a live teacher. I learned a lot from these classes, but as it turns out, there’s no “fast-track” way to fit me 🙂

  6. Hi Jenny,

    I totally found your blog by accident when I was looking up my book for someone on my smart phone and there you were. I love reviews and I love interacting and listening to my students so I thought I would check this out. You have a really good review. So I know this is a while after your post but often instructors never talk about the behind the camera side of what is going on or why things are done a certain way so here is some insight for your readers. I will just comment on some things you discussed not in any particular order.

    1. First I LOVE Craftsy. They are amazing to work with and offer all sorts of classes and all sorts of experts.
    2. So I am friends with a lot of Craftsy instructors so we kind of compare notes about what students say, what worked, what did not etc. . . We DO listen. Some things we can fix and other things are not in our control. We work with producers who have the final say in filming and often times you film and refilm and do lots in a single day. I am uber comfortable under the camera and a total cut up, but we have to keep it professional and filming patterns 0ver 300 in one day for this class is not something that is comical. So that was more the serious side of pattern adjusting. Check out my follow up Fast Track Fitting In the Details for more candid Joi. Matter of fact I can give you a free code if you would like. Truly, that is the mate to this class. In any class you run out of time and cannot film everything. That is what is so Great about Craftsy, you can interact with the instructors. Due to the popularity of this class we did a follow up (which I actually like better).
    3. So my method is one that I have taught live for many years and is great to work with people in person. On film you can only anticipate questions. I think of the critiques I have had and the most common is people just say it is slash and spread. On the surface it may look like that, but it is FAR from that. Yes I slash and spread as an option, but there is more thought in placement of adjustments, years of studying the body for pattern grading etc. . . There is so much more and as my students interact I can give them even more in depth info. Everyone is at a different level so you can’t go too deep in filming, but you have to film a complete method (meaning some of the pattern adjustments look repetitive, but you are showing all the areas and how to modify a pattern) Not all adjustments apply to all people but there are tips and tricks for each area.

    4. You mentioned wanting more people for my method. We did only use a single model in filming, but if you are interested in my book my entire last chapter is all real people where I take a single size 12 pattern and modify it for every real body. It truly shows how this works on any body.

    5. Well I better stop, but thanks for letting me post. I appreciate you taking my class. If you want a copy of my book, my companion class or my upcoming McCall’s patterns that have my pattern markings on them let me know. With anything as you are learning it takes a few times to master a method of fit- that is with any method, but after practice it becomes fluid. You truly enjoy sewing and it was fun finding your blog.

    • Wow–thanks for taking the time to address some of my concerns! That was really thoughtful of you 🙂 I totally get what you’re saying, and I’m glad to know more about the “behind-the-scenes” side of things.
      I’m glad to know that you’ve been able to film a follow-up class! I haven’t been browsing on Craftsy in a while as I’m not allowing myself to buy more classes until I’ve worked through the ones I already have. That said, I would never say “no” to a free class!
      I’m going to put a little note in the post for people to read your comment as I think it’s important for them to hear your thoughts. Thanks again for reading and commenting 🙂

      • Hey Jenny, a thanks for the thanks LOL! I will definitely get some things sent your way. I think you would LOVE my book too. I will have some advanced copies the first of September. It delves further into my method but is presented in a fun, attractive fashion rather than boring tissue patterns like fit has traditionally been approached. The joy of sewing is that there are different methods. I have a rule of only talking about what I know and have perfected, but people learn differently and I recognize that too. I teach all over the country and at all kinds of venues and it is really fun to see that and it is also helpful as an instructor. when my students ask me questions it allows me to really get in my element and delve deeper into each individuals need. I think what I do is so different because I come at fitting from a pattern drafting, draping, measuring, correct proportion up front mindset so you can get into the fun part of fitting rather than the mid-set that I am going to start with a pattern that is flawed (traditional method mindset is fitting a flawed pattern), have to cut and re-sew multiple muslins etc. . . I like direct yet accurate methods that get me results. I want to make a pattern to the correct proportion first eliminating almost all fit issues up front. It looks lengthy in class because I show lots of examples that each relates to a single body measurement, but once you figure out the few you need, boy you can scale a pattern in about 5-10 minutes accurately and go right to final muslin fit stage. One still needs to do a fit sample for the finishing touches that you cannot see on a paper or tissue pattern. You are training your eye for those extra things. There is good fit and then there is amazing fit. Oh I am so passionate about this. I LOVE what I do. There are well known people out there who teach the textbook fitting issues, but never delve into training the eye to go above and beyond that. That is ultimately the passion I want to share with others. Well I am going to stop and not take anymore of your blog time. Thanks for the voice. You have a lovely blog and I plan to follow your sewing adventures. I am glad I stumbled upon this.

  7. Pingback: Pattern Fitting and the Fitting Shell | a maker journal

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